Wednesday 2nd March 2011 by C. Freeman
Leonie Allen has had great success in archery competitions just three years after taking up the sport. Leonie, from Year 9, trains twice a week at her club in Rothwell and she also plays at county and regional level.
Her greatest success so far has been when she came second in the Under-16 category while shooting against hundreds of other entrants in a competition in Yorkshire last summer. Leonie has her own pink carbon fibre bow and uses carbon arrows because they are lighter and faster than the aluminium ones that beginners use.
She first got interested in the sport after her brother and dad both tried it. ‘You have to have good stability and really good concentration. You just have to blank everything else out and focus on what you are doing.’
Junior archers shoot at targets between 30 to 50 yards away while the adult distance is up to 100 yards. Leonie is gradually increasing her distances and currently shoots up to 60 yards, although in the winter when the sport is played indoors, the distance reduces to 20 yards for every age group.
Archers score ten points when shooting the middle of their target (the gold) down to one point on the outside edge. Leonie can consistently hit the middle: ‘I manage to hit the centre most of the time if I am shooting really well. Sometimes I have rounds of five dozen and I only go out of the gold about five times.’
She has training from a Great Britain coach and, as well as shooting at county level, she is also a member of the East Midlands Archery Squad, training with them once a month: ‘ It is an all-year-round sport but the competitions are over the spring and summer. Most weekends in the summer I go in for competitions. It is a male-dominated sport, I am the only girl junior who shoots at my club. Once you begin you have to get used to your own technique, it is quite hard but now I can be better than some of the boys. It is good fun and it is amazing how many people do it and enjoy it.’